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Posts tagged as Israel

Tulane hosts first ‘Globalization and Culture in Israel’ conference

The first “Globalization and Culture in Israel” conference takes place April 4–5 on Tulane University’s uptown campus. The conference will be held in Tulane’s Jewish Studies Building Conference Room 103 at 7031 Freret Street in New Orleans.

“The conference is about what happens to culture under globalization — how culture changes. Israel’s culture is dramatically changing because of its integration into the world economy and we’d like to see what that means for different kinds of cultural expression in Israel,” said Tulane Professor of Practice Ari Ofengenden, who, along with Sizeler Family Professor Brian Horowitz, is one of the featured speakers.“[The conference is] a chance for students to come and gain some exposure to [the effects of globalization in Israel] and a chance for scholars to create an atmosphere of sharing knowledge and science,” added Horowitz. “Israel’s culture is dramatically changing because of its integration into the world economy.”Professor of Practice Ari Ofengenden.The event kicks off Thursday, April 4, with a screening of “Land Without Borders,” a documentary directed by award-winning author and filmmaker Nir Baram, based on his travels between Israel and Palestine. It will be shown in Freeman Auditorium at 7 p.m. and followed by a discussion and question-and-answer session.

The conference continues at 9:30 a.m. on Friday with a roster of international speakers. The events are free and open to the public.“Globalization and Culture in Israel” is sponsored by the Tulane Department of Jewish Studies, Tulane Jewish Studies’ Israel 360 Hub and Tulane’s School of Liberal Arts in conjunction with the Stacy Mandel Palagye and Keith Palagye Program for Middle East Peace.

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Waste-busting Israeli firm turns companies’ discards into new food and drink

Upcycling, or the upgrading of useless or unwanted items into higher-value products, is becoming an important trend in the food industry, said Leizer.
“Each year, about 2.9 trillion pounds of food is wasted,” she said by phone. Thats a lot of missed opportunity, she pointed out.Most companies, she said, only think about either how to dispose of the waste more cheaply or how to produce less waste in the first place.Tal Leizer, CEO of Practical Innovation (Courtesy)“We’re saying take this waste, and instead of paying someone to take it off your shoulders, let’s build a completely new category from this waste.”Leizer’s company has recently developed a new upcycling system for companies that seek to turn a profit while helping address the global food waste problem.Practical Innovation’s new service assesses a companys supply chain, evaluates the extent of annual waste and what is being done with it, and then offers a way to develop new food and beverage products out of cast-off items, redirecting food waste into a profitable product.
In one example of this transformation, Practical Innovation partnered with the Israeli startup Wine Water Ltd. to create the alcohol-free, sugar-free,Vine wine water last year.“This is a product that is completely manufactured from waste,” said Leizer.Using leftover grape skins and seeds that are a byproduct of the winemaking process, they were able to extract the flavor of wine without its “bad things” sugar and alcohol.“It’s very light, it’s very fruity and it’s a completely new category in the beverage industry, she said.The product won first prize for Best New Water Concept at the Evian Water Conference last fall and  is now selling in the US.Leizer estimated that Practical Innovations has already saved Wine Water close to 2 million euros in waste disposal costs, and much more notably the new beverage has brought the company close to 50 million euros in profit.
“So it’s good for the environment, since the waste is not going to the garbage, and it’s great for the company as it’s creating new growth from waste.”Leizer said she is currently working on similar upcycling initiatives in Singapore and in the US, the latter of which is set to launch in September, though she wouldn’t disclose details.This green approach to product development, she believes, is going to keep growing over the next few years.“Waste is very profitable,” she said.“And companies now understand that profit made from product that is a non-raw material just the waste can really only help their bottom line.”

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Hypothesis: Bacteria use ‘air bridge’ to travel the world

Instead of hitching a ride on people or animals, some bacteria may travel thousands of miles through the air, according to a new study.Our research suggests that there must be a planet-wide mechanism that ensures the exchange of bacteria between faraway places, says senior author Konstantin Severinov, a principal investigator at the Waksman Institute of Microbiology and professor of molecular biology and biochemistry at Rutgers University-New Brunswick.

Remote placesFor the study, which appears in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, Severinov and other researchers studied the molecular memories of bacteria from their encounters with viruses, with the memories stored in bacterial DNA.Bacteriophages—viruses of bacteria—are the most abundant and ubiquitous forms of life on the planet, and have a profound influence on microbial populations, community structure, and evolution, according to the study.The scientists collected heat-loving Thermus thermophilus bacteria in hot gravel on Mount Vesuvius and hot springs on Mount Etna in Italy; hot springs in the El Tatio region in northern Chile and southern Chiles Termas del Flaco region; and hot springs in the Uzon caldera in Kamchatka, Russia.In virus-infected bacterial cells, molecular memories store in special regions of bacterial DNA called CRISPR arrays.
Cells that survive infections pass the memories—small pieces of viral DNA—to their offspring. The order of these memories allows scientists to follow the history of bacterial interaction with viruses over time.Initially, the scientists thought that bacteria of the same species living in hot springs thousands of miles apart—and therefore isolated from each other—would have very different memories of their encounters with viruses. Thats because the bacteria all should have independent histories of viral infections.
The scientists also thought that bacteria should evolve very rapidly and become different, much like the famous finches Charles Darwin observed on the Galapagos Islands.The scientists want to sample air at different altitudes and locations around the world and identify the bacteria there to test the air bridge hypothesis.
They would need access to planes, drones, or research balloons.Additional scientists from the Russian Academy of Sciences; Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology in Russia; Pasteur Institute in France; University of Santiago de Chile; and Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel contributed to the work.

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Plants have senses, language & culture

LONDON: Are plants rather cleverer than once thought? Scientists from around the world are claiming that plants cannot just sense, In an experiment in Australia, plants appeared to learn to associate a sound with a food source, just as Pavlov’s dogs linked the sound of a bell with dinner.

In Israel they’ve found that plants communicated a message from one to another, and that the information was then used to survive drought. In British Columbia and the UK researchers have shown that trees pass information and nutrients to each other through an underground fungal network.This even happens more with closely related trees or seedlings than with strangers. And in California it turns out that sagebrush shrubs have “regional dialects”! Botanist James Wong explores these findings and asks whether, if plants can do all these things, and if, as one scientist says, they are a “who” and not a “what”, then is it wrong to eat them?Six reasons plants are cleverer than you thinkIn Is Eating Plants Wrong? botanist James Wong discovers that plants are capable of things that used to be thought the preserve of animals, or even humans.
He speaks with plant scientists from around the world whose research has led them to conclude that plants can communicate, learn, and even remember. Some even go as far as to say plants are intelligent.Plants communicate through fragrances: Plants can communicate by emitting scents called volatile organic compounds through the air. These scents are picked up by other parts of the same plant, or by neighbouring plants, who then react to them, change their defences, and as a result receive less chewing damage from the different insects that nibble their leaves.
So if a leaf is being eaten by an insect or a caterpillar, the plant releases a warning scent, which nearby leaves pick up, and act on by emitting a different compound to repel the insect, or to attract predators of the nibbler like birds or wasps to come and eat it.Sagebrush shrubs have regional dialects: Professor Rick Karban of the University of California at Davis found that sagebrush shrubs are more effective at communicating with neighbouring plants, than with those growing over two hundred kilometres away.
The sagebrush plants use different regional dialects for communication!In a scientifically rigorous experiment, they found that the southern sagebrush shrubs did not respond to cues from their northern cousins as much as to those from southern plants, and vice versa. The shrubs don’t seem to understand their distant cousins as well as their neighbours.Professor Karban and his team were able to measure and confirm this by using both northern and southern sagebrush clippings in both northern and southern locations, to make sure it’s actually the dialect that’s different, and not the topic of conversation, as it were.Plants can learn to associate a sound with food (a light source) like Pavlov’s dogs: The Russian scientist Ivan Pavlov famously found that his dogs learned to associate the sound of a bell with the arrival of food.
He would ring a bell before serving them their meal, and the animals came to salivate at the mere sound of the bell, before dinner was dished up.Dr Monica Gagliano of the University of Western Australia tried a similar test with pea seedlings and found that the plants did indeed learn to associate sound with food! The plants learned to make an association, remembered it, and acted upon it.Which led Dr Gagliano to ask, who is making the choice?. Who, not what!Plants can play Chinese whispers and remember the message: Plants can communicate through substances they emit through their roots, as well as through fragrances sent out from their leaves.
And if potted in a row, sharing roots in each pot, they can play Chinese whispers. They can pass a message from the first root of the first plant down to the last plant in the same row of pots.And they can remember the passed-down message, and act on it when necessary!What’s more, they can distinguish between related and unrelated trees, and, for example, send more carbon to their kin than to strangers! It seems to be that trees really do have a preference for sharing with kin, and that it’s the tree making that choice, not the fungus. Dr Brian Pickles of the University of Reading, who collaborates with Prof.
Simard, tested this on tree seedlings.Plants can sense more than we can: Plants don’t have brains, and yet without brains, and without neurons even, they can do many things that we need brains and sensory organs for.So without eyes plants can perceive a lot of information about light, without noses they can perceive chemical information like smells, without ears they can perceive the vibrations of sounds. Plants are very perceptive about what’s going on in their environments.
They can sense touch, and taste, too, for example they can identify herbivore predators nibbling their leaves from the taste of the herbivore’s saliva. So plants have the same five senses humans have? And then some, says Prof.Rick Karban. Namely plants can also perceive electrical signals, temperature, electromagnetic forces, heavy metals, pathogens, gravity and more.
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Travel Guides Season 3

This season our Guides will go further afield than before, exploring new destinations near and far including Hawaii, India, Argentina, Israel, Germany, …

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